We Believe: A School Mission Statement

The more time I spend in jiujitsu, the more I think about how best to create a school culture. I’ve been lucky to learn from a lot of amazing people, and while each gym is different, the best ones have a set of core values — often implicit. I wanted to make those values explicit, so I came up with this. 

What do you think? What’s missing?


We Believe

We believe that jiujitsu is for everyone. Not everyone has the same goals or the same ceiling, but everyone can improve their life by training.

We believe in constant improvement. Everyone in your life knows something that you don’t. Every person on the mat can help you get better at something.

We believe in being good training partners. Your training partner is the most important person in the gym. Train so both people get something out of the class.

We believe in training hard and training smart. If we never spar hard, we don’t get all the benefits jiujitsu offers as an “alive” martial art. If we treat every sparring round like the finals at the world championships, we sacrifice technical understanding and risk injury. Train hard. Train smart.

We believe in jiujitsu for self defense, jiujitsu for sport, and jiujitsu for life. This art will help you reach your goals — and if you pay attention to the fundamentals, you can succeed in all the areas of jiujitsu.

We believe that jiujitsu is for everyone. This is important, so we’re saying it again. Everyone is welcome here.

Jiujitsu Schools: The Financial Reality

Occasionally we run guest posts that we think will be of interest to the community. A school owner contacted us with this post — and if you’ve ever thought of opening a gym, we think you’ll find this fascinating. Plus, the author will answer your questions! Let’s let the professor make introductions:

Have you ever wondered what the underlying realities of being a school owner are?  Whether you one day aspire to open your own school or just want to have a better understanding of the day-to-day costs of a gym, I hope this article is eye opening.  

I am the owner of a gym that has been open less than 5 years. These are all 100% real numbers but I will redact any personal information to protect the innocent.  Just call me … Professor X.

Continue reading

The 2017 Dirty White Belt Awards For Jiujitsu in the Southeast

For 6 months, we’ve been asking for people to inform us about the best of jiujitsu in Virginia, DC, North Carolina and South Carolina. Finally, our panel of judges has rendered their decisions — and for the first time, we’re proud to present 10 awards.

The purpose of this: to celebrate the people doing great things in the regional jiujitsu community, and to learn about some of the lesser-known folks out there that don’t always get the credit they deserve. This is why we had an open nomination process: so people could tell us who they thought the most deserving people are, and why, and to give them a chance, through emails and voicemails, to explain what makes the person they support so worthy of an award.

We wanted to release the podcast on the awards before this list for one reason: if you listen to the show, regardless of who won or who lost, you’ll hear voicemails representing every nominee for whom we got voicemails. Those voices deserve to be heard. Check out the podcast here:

We couldn’t play all the voicemails we received, or even read all the emails on the air — thanks to everyone for the powerful response — but we did get to most of them, so that nominees could hear from their supporters directly.

How did we decide who won after all the nominations were in? I’m glad you asked. The last thing I wanted was for this to be the “Jeff picks out the winners” awards. But I also didn’t want an Internet popularity contest or a system that could be gamed, and I did want to get diverse sets of people involves. So we picked 7 judges from three different states AND the District, training at 7 different gyms under 6 different associations. We let all of those judges see the emails and voicemails of support. Then we asked the judges to rank the candidates in order, with the top 3 getting points. You got three points for a first place vote, two for a second place vote, and one for a third place vote.

This is where the contest really opened some eyes, I think. I wound up voting for at least one person I’d never heard of before the contest, based purely on voicemails of support. We also, because so many people were convincing, wound up giving more awards than we planned on.

Here are the 10 2017 Dirty White Belt Awards, each with a traveling trophy that’s engraved with the name of the winner. If your favorite candidate didn’t win, don’t worry , that’s OK — they will still get a certificate as a finalist, and the chance to win next year, when the trophies will move along to new and deserving recipients. All of the categories you’re about to hear will be around next year. Will we add new categories? I don’t know — I really wish we’d had takedown of the year and submission of the year categories. So watch for those all year and keep them in mind.

Let’s start with the people who inspire us. Continue reading

Grapplers Gift Guide: 2017

If Charles Dickens taught us one thing, it’s that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. But it can buy your friends things for holidays, and that’s basically happiness for them.

Don’t wait until three ghosts shake you down before you drop cash on Christmas: your 2017 Grapplers Gift Guide has something for every budget, including no budget. That’s right, you can give gifts even though you’re a broke jiujiteiro or jiujiteira yourself. Besides the post below, check out the 2016 and 2015 iterations: a massage, a private lesson, and an online site subscription are still good ideas even though we didn’t want to repeat ourselves. 2014 and 2013 are a little outdated, since a lot of those items aren’t available anymore, but maybe they’ll spark some concepts. Continue reading

Update: The Awards Are Almost Here!

Quick reminder: the nominations are almost final for the first annual Dirty White Belt Southeast American Jiujitsu Awards! We’re giving year-end awards for jiujitsu throughout the Southeast on a show in December: For a full and comprehensive list of who is eligible and the rules, we have longer posts here and here.

Who Are The Candidates?
We are closing nominations Dec. 1, and giving the awards later in December. So there’s still time to nominate! We are keeping a running list of the candidates here.  You can nominate additional candidates by emailing us at cagesidewhup@gmail.com. Even better, you can call and leave us a voicemail at (360) 389-2830. Tell us who you’re supporting and why! Not only might this help persuade the judges, you might end up on the show giving out props to a winner during our awards show in December.

How Do I Vote / Support My Deserving Candidate?
A panel of judges from a variety of jiujitsu teams will decide the winners, so there is no popular vote (at least not this year!). But you can still support your favorite candidate by posting your picks and a few reasons that person is deserving!

Thanks for participating!